The title of the movie literally includes the word ‘funny’, but I didn’t laugh once, I didn’t even grin either. But this movie starring Imogen Poots and Owen Wilson still has a few pros as well as a decently woven plot. The film follows Isabella Patterson as she gets her breakout role in a Broadway play directed by a man whom she previously had a brief affair with her. Things get complicated however when the directors wife, who also stars in the play, catches on. Despite some fairly big name actors in the film, none of them really stood out as exceptionally good or funny. The star however, Imogen Poots, dragged down the film with annoying line delivery and silly acting. So despite a lack of anything exceptional the movie is carried by the classic Shakespearean comedy formula.
Imogen Poots, as previously mentioned, was lousy (not that I’ve ever enjoyed her in a film). She plays her character in a before-and-after scenario and there is absolutely nothing that holds the two performances together, it feels like two different characters (and not in a cool and dramatic way). Poots also struggles significantly with her dialect as she flip-flops from dialect to dialect in an utmost uncomfortable way. Oh yeah, and to add insult to injury, Poots has no (absolutely no) chemistry with any of her onscreens. Owen Wilson stars opposite of Poots and despite the tangible lack of chemistry he has with her, Wilson himself delivers a subpar performance, that despite the lack of truly capturing the most dramatic of his scenes, he seems to be the one holding up and delivering the screenplay. Wilson too, however, does not differentiate between himself and the character and seems to play himself going through the plot.
Jennifer Aniston also features in the film as Poots’ therapist, and despite her constant attempts to make the audience laugh with an unauthorized anger attack she falls short every time. Kahryn Hahn is also thrown into the mesh as Wilson’s wife and Poots’ costar, and honestly I think she might have been the most invested in this film as she actually manages to make her character interesting, compelling, and believable. Rhys Ifans also stars as the cynical actor who for some reason tries to mess with Wilson’s character. Ifans plays a classic Ifans role, but does so convincingly and despite the characters lack of exposition or motivation, Ifans manages to keep up with Hahn. Will Forte also appears in the film as Aniston’s assistant, playwright of the play, and Poots’ brief love interest. Forte was ultimately the most forgettable of the principle actors, which is in big part due to his lack of effort or energy.
So the acting is noting more than mediocre, and the screenplay isn’t funny. What’s holding this movie up? Nothing, but the story itself tries desperately. The story weaves together perfectly and seems to unravel itself like a puzzle, and though obviously cliched, it is easy to get on-board with. The story however also involves Poots’ character retelling the events in the future, which seems to further build on the film’s cliches and is much harder to truly get behind. The screenplay itself however sells itself as a comedy, but ultimately it serves as a light drama and fails to realize what it is. The screenplay continuously throws in failed joke after over-exaggerated scenario, which doesn’t work for the this light drama, but could have worked for a comedy, but this movie is not a comedy. So ultimately by not understanding itself the film ruined what could have been a decent light drama. The direction in the movie is fairly awkward too, with one specific scene where all hell seems to break loose in the theatre, where the actors seem flustered as they shuffle around mumbling and grumbling their dialogue. Otherwise the direction is fairly lame and straightforward with nothing interesting or exciting to really lift the movie off of the ground.
A cast of big-names who don’t put in a lot of effort, a screenplay that doesn’t realize what it is, and direction that did nothing to help doesn’t seem like it would lead to a great film. And it didn’t. This is definitely not a film to go out of your way to watch. But a decent story and a couple of actors who try seem to give the movie the kick it needs to entertain for the 93 minute runtime, despite its otherwise poor filmmaking.
Best Aspect- Kathryn Hahn
Worst Aspect- Jennifer Aniston